College of Arts and Sciences

Ancient Studies

Distinguished Lecturer Series

The Distinguished Lecturer Series seeks to provide a venue for faculty and students working on various areas of antiquity to explore common interests. The Program normally invites two major scholars a year whose interests cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. The scholars are chosen by a formal nomination process from the faculty. For the process, each nomination shall be a co-nomination by faculty members from at least two different departments. The lectures are of broad interest to students and faculty members. Each visitor will present a public lecture and meet with interested students and faculty during his or her visit.

Distinguished Lecturers (2016-2017 academic year)

Fall 2016

Greg Woolf
Institute of Classical Studies
September 12, 4 p.m.
Maple Room, Indiana Memorial Union

Migration and Metropoleis in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Many accounts of the greatest ancient cities - Rome, Alexandria, Antioch on the Orontes to name just three - draw heavily on analogy with the largest cities of early modern Europe and the global megacities of the last two centuries. We imagine them as melting pots, cosmopolitan, creative and dangerously chaotic environments. In this talk, Professor Woolf offers an alternative view of ancient metropoleis, based partly on consideration of their place in ancient civic hierarchies and also on a raft of new studies of migration around the classical world. The result has implications for religious change, economic life, and the social fabric of these centers, and the urban networks of which they formed a part.

Spring 2017

Adrienne Mayor
April 3, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
The College Arts and Humanities Institute, 1211 East Atwater Avenue

Alexander the Great and the Amazon Queen
Amazons--fierce warrior women of eastern lands--were archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Great heroes of myth, Heracles and Achilles, battled Amazon queens. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia and Pompey of Rome tangled with real women warriors. One of the most fascinating legends about Alexander the Great is his affair with an Amazon queen. Their romance reportedly occurred in 330 BC, after Alexander's conquest of Persia. Debated by historians in antiquity, the story still arouses controversy. Did the young world conqueror really enjoy thirteen nights of love with an Amazon? This talk analyzes the evidence for their notorious liaison, drawing on ancient literature, geography, historical accounts, and archaeology to separate fact from fiction.

Adrienne Mayor is a research scholar in the Classics Department and History of Science Program at Stanford University. Her most recent book is "The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World" (2014). Mayor's biography of Mithradates VI of Pontus, "The Poison King" (2010) was a National Book Award nonfiction finalist. "The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times" (2000, 2011) opened a new field in the emerging discipline of Geomythology, and in "Greek Fire, Poison Arrows and Scorpion Bombs" (2009), Mayor uncovered the ancient roots of biological and chemical warfare. Her research has been featured on NPR and BBC, New York Times, Smithsonian, and National Geographic; her books are translated into twelve languages.

Past Distinguished Lecturers:

  • Oliver Taplin (Oxford)
  • Shane Buttler (Johns Hopkins)
  • Willeke Wendrich (UCLA)
  • William Harris (Columbia)
  • Richard Talbert (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  • Dale Kinney (Bryn Mawr College)
  • Susan E. Alcock (University of Michigan)
  • Shadi Bartsch (University of Chicago)
  • Mary T. Boatwright (Duke)
  • Glen W. Bowersock (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
  • Alan Cameron (Columbia)
  • John Dillon (Trinity College, Dublin)
  • Katherine Dunbabin (McMaster)
  • Robin Lane Fox (Oxford)
  • Christopher Gill (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Maud Gleason (Berkeley)
  • Fritz Graf (Ohio State University)
  • A. A. Long (Berkeley)
  • Joseph Manning (Yale)
  • Ian Morris (Stanford)
  • Josiah Ober (Stanford University)
  • James Porter (California, Irvine)
  • Richard Saller (Standford)
  • Brent Shaw (Princeton)
  • Lawrence Stager (Harvard
  • Raymond Van Dam (Michigan)
  • Heinrich von Staden (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton)